Detroit Tigers: Top 20 prospects going into the 2020 season

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Detroit Tigers
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Kyle Funkhouser, RHP, Triple-A in 2019

The Los Angeles Dodgers selected Kyle Funkhouser in the first round of the 2015 First-Year Amateur Player Draft. Funkhouser opted to return to the University of Louisville and would ultimately get selected by the Detroit Tigers in the fourth round of the 2016 First-Year Amateur Player Draft. Injuries have ultimately caused Funkhouser to struggle to maintain his value as a top prospect, but he was pitching well until being called up to the Triple-A affiliate.

Funkhouser is a twenty-five-year-old right-handed pitcher who stands 6-foot-2 and weighs in at 230-pounds. The right-handed pitcher is looking to make his final progressions from Triple-A to the big leagues, but a significant regression in last year’s performance may stunt his promotion. A broken foot and elbow inflammation did not help Funkhouser’s development over the past two seasons.

In 2019, Funkhouser spent time with Single-A Lakeland, Double-A Erie, and Triple-A Toledo. While with Lakeland and Erie, he only pitched in a combined 28.2 innings of work. While with Toledo, he would make eighteen total starts for a total of 63.1 innings pitched for the Mud Hens, where he showed significant regression.

Over the year with Toledo, he would pitch himself to a 3-7 record with an 8.52 ERA, 2.10 WHIP, giving up sixty earned runs, seventy-nine hits, walking fifty-four batters, and striking out sixty-five batters.

Funkhouser has an over the top delivery, with a little bit of high three-quarters action. He has excellent control over his four-pitch mix, which features a fastball that sits in the low-90s (90-93mph, top at 95-96 mph). He offers a changeup that sits around 83-86 mph with some sink, which he throws inside to righties often.

He also has a slider that has vertical movement around the same velocity as the changeup.  He tends to attack the bottom third of the zone, especially with his firm fastball, which does get hit as evident from the stats above.

MLB Expectation: Coming up through the ranks, Funkhouser was expected to be a mid-range starter for the Detroit Tigers. However, Funkhouser’s injuries and regression at the Triple-A level make it seem like he will be better suited as a backend starter or for the bullpen. With his control, he may become a long relief type arm rather than a starter.